Padres OF Jurickson Profar is a different player in 2022

Jun 8, 2022; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres left fielder Jurickson Profar (10) is congratulated in the dugout after scoring a run on a single hit by right fielder Nomar Mazara (not pictured) during the first inning against the New York Mets at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Padres entered 2022 with uncertainly swirling around their outfielders. Jurickson Profar was at the center of that scrutiny, coming off of a 0.0 WAR 2021 campaign in 137 games.

Now, that seems like a distant memory.

For starters, Profar has basically been San Diego’s best hitter not named Manny Machado for much of this season. He currently ranks second on the squad in homers (eight), OPS (.785), and OPS+ (128). He also is second on the team with 2.0 fWAR. He is tied for the team lead with 16 doubles and leads the Padres in walks.

Defensively, he looks like a brand new person as well. He is tied for second in the majors with six outfield assists and has already tied a career-high with 3 Defensive Runs Saved in the outfield, not even halfway through the year.

So what happened? How did he change so much in one offseason? And the ultimate question is, can this last?

As The Athletic’s Dennis Lin outlined, Profar changed up his offseason regimen. Instead of spending the winter in his native Curaçao, he worked with the Tatis family in the baseball-talent-rich Dominican Republic.

It seems some of Fernando Tatis Jr.’s flair for the dramatic has rubbed off on Profar. He is currently tied with the Dodgers’ Trea Turner for hits with runners in scoring position.

Profar just looks different at the plate.

This was how he looked in 2021.

Profar changed his stance over the offseason. It’s more closed, and his hands are tighter to his body and more cocked and coiled. This has helps him barrel up baseballs at a 5.6 percent rate, the highest of his Padres career. Also, his average exit velocity is the highest it has been throughout his nine-year career.

Profar had 23 extra-base hits in 412 plate appearances last season. In just 278 plate appearances thus far this season, he already has 26, including twice as many homers as all of last year.

He is doing all this while also walking at a 12.6 percent rate, nearly two percent higher than his career average.

His approach seems to have changed as well. He is swinging at less pitches both inside and outside of the zone compared to his career average.

 

Career Avg 2022
Avg Exit Velo 86.7 87.7
Barrel % 4.3 5.6
OPS .713 .785
BB % 9.8 12.6
O-Swing % 28.8 27.8
Swing % 44.5 41.5

Batting leadoff seems to also have sparked him. He is hitting .337 in the leadoff spot this season and .217 at every other spot in the lineup combined.

It’s not just at the plate, either. Profar went from the sixth percentile in Outs Above Average in the outfield to 65th.


As far as this being sustainable, that is the million-dollar question (or $7.3 million, his 2022 salary). The underlying metrics that suggest he is being more patient at the plate along with a new stance point to this truly being a new and improved Profar.  Also, his expected batting average is .265, which is 13 points higher than his actual batting average, suggesting that Profar might even be getting unlucky amid all this success.

It’s very clear Profar worked tirelessly at his craft at the plate and with his glove this offseason. He and the Padres are reaping the benefits so far.

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Nick Lee
Native of Escondido, CA. Lived in San Diego area for 20 years. Padres fan since childhood (mid-90s). I have been writing since 2014. I currently live near Seattle, WA and am married to a Seattle sports girl. I wore #19 on my high school baseball team for Tony Gwynn. I am a stats and sports history nerd. I attended BYU on the Idaho campus. I also love Star Wars.

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